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Need advice about adopted cat!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello, I need some advice about my new cat and I am hoping that some of the wonderful cat experts in this forum will be able to help! (Sorry for the long story)

Awhile ago I adopted a beautiful black & white cat who had been hanging out in my apartment complex. I think he was abandoned by a former owner and someone in the complex was feeding him for awhile, but that person moved away. I found him meowing pitifully one night, hungry and thirsty (he drank an entire bowl of water). I put signs up all over the complex but no one responded. I also advertised on Craigslist, and posted notices at two local shelters, but no one has claimed him. The microchip company could not reach anyone at the number they had one file.

"Oreo" is a very affectionate and friendly cat and not at all feral. At one time he must have been a housecat, because he uses the litterbox with no problems and is not afraid of people. But he's young, strong, and active and had been living outside before I adopted him.

For the first couple weeks, Oreo was grateful to have a bowl of food and a warm bed. All he wanted to do was purr, eat and sleep. But lately he has become very restless and is EXTREMELY unhappy at being kept inside. He meows constantly at the front door. The vet told me that the best way to deal with chronic meowing is to ignore it until the cat learns he won't get anything that way. But the meowing is just getting worse and it is driving me nuts! He also follows me from room to room whenever I am home and wants constant attention. I have bought him toys and climbing perches and I play with him every night with a feather fishing pole until he's exhausted. But it isn't helping. The problem is, I am gone until about 7 pm every night and I think he's just bored out of his little mind. When I get home, I enjoy playing with him, but I also need some of my own personal time! He cries at the bathroom door and jumps all over me when I am trying to read or eat my dinner. He won't even eat his kibble unless I stand next to him -- he follows me out of the kitchen and then meows like he's hungry! I've been wearing earplugs so I can sleep because he meows half the night. (Vet says he's in good health with no medical problems.)

So at this point I am wondering if I made a mistake in trying to adopt this guy as a house cat and maybe I should let him live outside again and just leave some food for him on the front porch. But it is risky: I live on the 4th floor in a large apt. complex on a VERY busy street. And I'm gone all day. So basically I would be supporting a stray cat, who would mostly have to live on his own. Who knows what would happen to him. Eventually, I expect, he'll get run over by a car. Also, he clearly needs and wants human affection.

The other option is to take him to a shelter, where he may or may not be adopted, and I hate to do that.

Some friends who have cats suggested I get a 2nd cat to keep him company, but I don't know if I want 2 cats.

Your thoughts on my dilemma are appreciated. Should I put him back outside or take him to the shelter? Or keep hoping the situation will somehow improve if I am just patient enough? Any other ideas?

Thank you so much for any advice you may have,
post #2 of 12
First, is he neutered? Also, how long ago did you adopt him?

If he's not neutered he should be ASAP! It could be his male urges causing him to cry and want back out. Please, don't put him back out. If you absolutely can not keep him take him to a NO KILL shelter. Also, if he's newely adopted it may just take some time to adjust. He was clearly abandoned once and he might have some seperation anxiety because of it. This would explain his constant following you.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes, I should have mentioned that he is neutered. But he is a little bit "jowly," so I think he may have been neutered when he was near maturity. So he's got a bit of a tomcat in him. The microchip company told me that he was originally microchipped by a shelter. So he was a shelter cat who was adopted and then abandoned again. No wonder he has "issues." But again -- he's not feral. Many years ago I adopted a 6-month-old feral cat and that cat never really adapted to people. He would just hide under the bed for 22 hours a day and then dart out once and awhile for food. Oreo is the complete opposite: he can't seem to get enough of people.

He's really a beautiful and affectionate cat and I really want to keep him, but he seems so unhappy being cooped up in my apartment and it is not good for either of us. Do you think he will eventually adapt? I have had him 2 months. Maybe that's not long enough for him to get used to being inside all the time?

post #4 of 12
Give him more time.
It is safer inside.
post #5 of 12
Originally Posted by mews2much View Post
Give him more time.
It is safer inside.
It is much safter inside. Does he have toys & cat trees? Sounds like he is a smart cat and what he needs are things to stimulate his brain, make him think a little.

I was wondering about the shelter that he was microchipped through. Do they have a record of who adopted him? IF the previous owners just left him behind the shelter might want to know that so they do not adopt to those people again.
post #6 of 12
I think he might follow you and stay so close to you because he may fear abandonment again. It seems like it's happened at least once in his life, maybe more. Have you tried Feliway? It couldn't hurt and might even help. I'd think about a second cat myself. I know you've said you're not sure if that's the right solution but I'd at least give it some careful consideration. If he has separation anxiety he might cope better with some company while you're gone. Also, it will help you share the "play" load! Besides, who can have just one cat?
post #7 of 12
I would give him more time, much more time.

I have used a "cat sitter" DVD. It plays a series of cat attractive scenes.

Another thought is to leave the TV on during the day and maybe play a soft music station on the radio at night.

I have had a stray that went through the same behavior. He probably has been through much during his short life and he needs lots of time.

It will get better. Hoping you can hang in there with him. Seems like he picked you for a reason. Time will help. Wishing you the best.
post #8 of 12
Give him more time. I adopted my current cat when he was about 5 (he had been a stray; came from a shelter; but, like yours, was clearly originally a housecat). He's been with me six months and still needs to follow me around the house. I think it's a fear of abandonment with these cats who have had a tough life.

Although he doesn't complain about being indoors, he vocalizes too much for my comfort--i.e., he seems to be "complaining," but I have no idea what the problem is.

I, too, thought I should get him a second cat because he is very, very social, but I really don't want another cat, and my vet said that probably wouldn't help because he seems to be very human-bonded. He loves everyone. In fact, he might be complaining because I live alone (although I'm retired and home all day) because he really loves it when anyone comes to visit. The other day, my landscaper stopped by to collect for the fall clean up, and my guy was overjoyed to try to get another human to make a fuss over him!

My advice is to try to find time to play with him for 30 min. or so before you go to work. Then make sure he has toys around that he can play with on his own if he wants to. Both of my cats loved the little furry mice, and this guy likes small balls as well. They usually adapt to sleeping most of the day so I doubt that he's lonely. In the evening when you come home, it's possible that he doesn't want play so much as affection. My guy is a regular love sponge and regularly needs a long petting session with me.

I'm still learning about him after six months, so give yourself more time to get used to your boy. Above all, please don't put him out on the street. If you're not compatible, find him a home or a shelter at the very least.
post #9 of 12
It is a tough sell for an outdoor cat to live indoors. But it sounds like a big part of the problem is that there's just not enough stimulation, excitement and exercise for a cat that's used to roaming around exploring all day. If I were in that position, I'd consider getting a second cat so he'd have a playmate and some stimulation during the day.
post #10 of 12
When I adopted my first cat (four years old), she too seemed pretty clingy when I got home - I'm usually gone from 7:00 to 7:00. Like you, I made sure I had a cat tree, etc.

I ended up adopting a second cat, and while they're both extremely happy to see me and will follow me from room to room, they don't seem so clingy and do play with each other while I'm reading or whatever (or they both jump on my book - depends on the mood). If a second cat is really not in the cards, I also suggest leaving the radio on softly when you'r gone - supposedly cats enjoy classical or new age music (I've heard they go for harp music in particular). And, give yourselves both some time - I think he's had a huge change in his life, as you have, and he just needs time to realize that he's got a forever home.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
I want to thank everyone for their advice! It gave me hope to stay the course with my little guy who is really a sweet cat -- most of the time. So on Friday I decided to take him back to the vet just for another checkup. The vet did give him a clean bill of health originally, but I thought I would just make sure that the meowing situation was not health related. Well, turns out poor Oreo had TAPEWORMS! I had noticed some little "crumbs" around his tail from time to time but I assumed it was kitty litter stuck to his fur. Nope, those little crumbs were dried up tapeworm segments! (YUCK!) So the vet gave him a tapeworm pill and told me that should take care of the problem immediately.

Suddenly, the amount of meowing has really declined. He still wants to go outside in the morning, but it is tolerable as he gives up after 10-15 minutes. He does not walk around meowing half the day and night. He is still pretty energetic in the evenings and early morning but I am trying to play with him more and wear him out. Although the vet said that cats often have no symptoms from tapeworms, it can cause some abdominal upset which may have made him restless and irritable. I am SO relieved!

Apparently cats that eat mice often end up with tapeworms. I wish the vet had mentioned this as a possibility with an adopted stray who may have been dining on the occasional mice and/or rat, and told me what to watch out for. Oh well, the problem is fixed now.

Thanks again, this is a great place for cat advice!

post #12 of 12
Just an FYI they get tapeworms from swallowing fleas when they groom themselves. One of mine gets them more frequently than the others as he's a fastidious groomer. (Since we live in the South and have a dog who goes out we usually get some fleas in the summer despite flea control.)

I'm really glad your little guy is feeling better!
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